Eldorado Gold Corp. [ELD-TSX; EGO-NYSE] CEO George Burns has met with representatives of the newly elected Greek government in a bid to kickstart Eldorado’s stalled Skouries gold mine.
Based in Vancouver, Eldorado is a mid-tier gold and base metals producer with an international portfolio that includes mining, development and exploration projects in Turkey, Canada, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Brazil.
Key operations include the Kisladag and Efemcukuru mines in Turkey, the Olympias Mine in Greece, and the Lamaque Mine in Quebec. Together they are expected to produce between 390,000 and 420,000 ounces this year at an all-in-sustaining cost of US $900-$1,000 an ounce.
However, analysts said Eldorado’s stock price has been held down by concerns about capital allocation decisions and the company’s inability to advance development of its Skouries gold-copper project in Greece. While 50% constructed, the Skouries project remains on care and maintenance pending the receipt of necessary permits from the Greek government.
It is why Burns has been keeping a close eye on the political situation in Greece in the hope that a new government will see that developing Skouries is a win-win – not only for Eldorado – but also for the Greek economy.
Burns will have been encouraged by comments from Greek Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis that he made during an interview with Skai TV. The comments were reported Wednesday by Reuters News Service.
“We want this investment to come to life. We want to tie up loose ends,” Hatzidakis told Skai TV. “It is a New Democracy commitment,” he said.
Eldorado Gold shares advanced on the news, rising 1.2% or 12 cents to $9.97 on volume of 1.02 million. The 52-week range is $3.36 and $10.43.
Hatzidakis was interviewed after he and his deputy met with Burns and other executives.
Situated in the Halkidiki Peninsula of Northern Greece in the Serbo-Macedonian ore belt, Skouries is expected to produce 140,000 ounces of gold and 67 million pounds of copper annually during an estimated mine life of 23 years. Skouries is located on concessions that also contain the Olympias Mine, which produced almost 10,000 ounces of gold during the first quarter of 2019.
The Skouries gold-copper porphyry project is designed as a two-phase mining operation that produces a very clean gold-copper concentrate and is uniquely designed to deploy the best available technologies for tailings disposal, Burns said.
Phase one consists of an open pit mine and underground mine that will operate for 10 years. Phase 2 consists of mining from the underground mine for a further 13 years.
In 2018, Eldorado demanded a 750 million Euro payment from Greece for damages related to project permit delays. The company’s planned investment in Greece has been viewed as one of the biggest in the country in years.